YOU’RE going to find me today, whispered the man’s voice in my dream. It seemed that that voice was becoming a part of me. I’ve heard it a few times now, and had a feeling that I would hear it for a very long time. When I heard the voice in my dream, I immediately woke up.
I got ready for my second day of school, throwing on a purple top and a pair of jeans. Then I drove off. I had a strange sense that I just had to get to school, but the same sense was telling me to stay away. I ignored the second feeling because I wanted to see if my dream was actually a premonition.
My day started out as usual. Walking to classes with my friends, then parting ways to go to our lockers. Rachel and I met back up when we sat together in Science class. We listened to Mr. Semp go through what we were going to do in this quarter, and the safety procedures we were to follow. The safety rules were the same every year, so I just ignored that part. He was cut off by the bell, and he told us he would finish tomorrow.
Ms. Smith told us that we should meet in her classroom instead of the Gym today. I walked to my assigned seat, surprised that I remembered it. I sat alone in the back of the room, and looked out the window until the bell rung. When it did, Ms. Smith came in the room and shut the door behind her.
Today she started out by telling us what was to be expected in her classroom. Right as she started to tell us what we were going to learn about, there was a knock on the door. She motioned for the guy on the other side to come in.
“Are you Ms. Smith, and is this health class?” The boy that walked in had black hair, and was very tall. His stance said that he was very relaxed at that moment. He wore a plain black T-shirt, blue jeans, and boots.
“Yes and yes,” Ms. Smith said. She walked over to the boy, probably seeing what he wanted. She directed him to the front of the class after he told her what he was here for. “Class, we have a new student. His name is Dean Lenz. Treat him as if he was another one of your classmates that you’ve known for a while.” She pointed to the seat beside me, and he walked over and sat down.
“Hey, I’m Dean.” He held out his hand for me to shake, and I did. When I touched his hand, an electrical current went down through my arm and stopped at my heart. My heart squeezed out an extra beat. I quickly pulled my hand away, and it was cold without his hand resting in it.
“I’m Sarah. Welcome to Walker.” Who was this kid? Why did I have that feeling when he touched me? He laughed as if there was some joke he had just heard. His black eyes stare intensely into mine, making me forget about everything else in the world.
“That’s the perfect example! Be nice to Dean! Just like Sarah.” Realizing that I was looking at him like an idiot, I cleared my throat and looked back to the front of the room. But Dean didn’t. He sat and stared at me for the rest of the period; he stared at me almost . . . protectively. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t focus on anything while he watched me.
Ms. Smith continued to talk about what we were going to learn about in class this year. When she started to talk about how hormones was the first thing we would study, I zoned out. I instead focused on how Dean’s eyes were burning holes in my face.
Every time I would glance over, he would smile a half smile that made my heart skip a beat. “So, are we going to sit together for the rest of the year?” His voice was like deep music made for my ears.
“I don’t know. We might, we might not. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” But I don’t know if I would want to sit by him all year. I don’t like most of the people in this class, but I do want to mix it up every now and then.
When the bell rang for third period, I quickly got out of my seat, and walked to the door. Dean walked behind me until I walked into my next class.
You found me, whispered the man’s voice in my head. And it sounded like Dean’s voice. I instantly stopped breathing, wondering if I was hearing things. It couldn’t be Dean. He was in a different classroom, and it’s impossible to speak to someone through their thoughts. Isn’t it?
My Math teacher walked into the room, and continued to introduce his class. I wasn’t paying attention, but instead waited for that voice to come back to my head. It never came, and I was sort of disappointed. I was creeped out by the voice, but I wanted to hear it again.
When the bell rang for lunch, I met up with Rachel at her locker. “Hey!” She looked excited to see me. “I hate school! Why do we have to come here, anyways?” She asked me that every year. And I still didn’t have an answer.
“I have no idea, Rachel. Are you-” I stopped talking when I saw Dean walking past us. He winked at me, then just kept walking. I stared after him, watching him from the back now. His back formed a perfect V shape, and the muscles in his arms were huge!
“Wow. Who is that? He’s so cute!” I never fight with my friends over a guy because I think that no guy is worth risking a friendship. But this guy is worth fighting for. I felt a special connection to him that I’ve never felt before with any guy. Not even with Scott. “Do you like him?”
“I think so. I don’t really know him, but I feel-” There was a feeling in my gut screaming, Don’t tell her how you feel about him! so I thought of something else to say. “I don’t know. I just think I might like him if I got to know him.” The truth was that I felt this strange connection to him, but I couldn’t admit it to her. When he walked, he walked as if he thought everybody was watching him and he was the best. I don’t like when people are like that, so I had mixed feelings about him.
“He’s super cute! Do you have any classes with him?”
“I have health with him and he sits right next to me.” We headed to the cafeteria, and Dean was walking a few feet in front of us. We walked right into the lunch room and got our food, not bothering to wait in line. We sat at our usual table, and Mia and Sierra were already there. “Hey, girls!”
“Oh my gosh! Have you guys seen that new kid?” They launched into a big conversation about him. I blocked them out, and focused on my food. An unknown force pulled my head up, and walking in front of me was Dean. He sat in the table next to ours. On his tray was a salad and a bottle of water.
He sat, watching me. Any other person would have been creeped out, but the look in his eyes was comforting to me. He never touched his food or his water. When the bell rang for us to go to class, he threw it all away. I slowly stood up. My muscles were acting as if I had been sitting there for a few hours.
“Sarah, are you coming?” Rachel was walking away, looking over her shoulder at me. I walked faster and joined my friends. They were still talking about Dean, but now they were fighting over who should get him. But that’s not for us to decide. But I’m curious. If he were to choose one of us, who would it be?
You, said the voice in my head. I jumped, dropping my tray on the floor. The big noise from my tray filled up the whole cafeteria. Dean heard it, and turned back to help me pick up my scattered food. He picked up the apple first, and I picked up my half eaten pizza. We both reached for my water at the same time, and my hand rested on his as I tried to beat him to the bottle.
“Are you okay?” He was looking into my eyes so intensely that I had to look away.
“Fine,” I replied. I was looking at the ground while I stood up with my tray in my hands. He stood up, too, and when he did, he was very close to me. I took a step back, and regretted it. Being close to him felt right.
“Here. Let me take that.” He took the tray out of my hands, and put it away for me. My hands were trembling as he walked back towards me. “Are you sure your okay? You looked like you had seen a ghost.”
“Not quite as scary as a ghost. Something just surprised me.” He raised his right eyebrow, as if to ask me what surprised me. “Um, I don’t really want to talk about it.” He turned his gaze away from me and started laughing as if he had just heard a funny joke. “What?”
“Nothing,” he said as he tried to suppress his laughter. I just let it go and continued to walk. “Do you want to talk about it yet?”
“Depends. Are you going to keep asking me?”
“Until you answer me,” he said.
I quickly thought of a lie to tell him. “I thought I saw a spider crawling on my hand. It surprised me and I accidently dropped my tray.” He glared at me accusingly, obviously knowing that I was lying.
“Alright,” he said, exhaling slowly. I ran my fingers through my hair, hoping that it looked okay. Dean was walking so close to me that his shoulder brushed against mine every time he took a step. Each simple brush of his shoulder made me stop breathing.
“Well, apparently he would choose Sarah,” I heard Rachel whisper. Dean laughed and looked at me. The smile on his face made me want to be happy forever. When he looked into my eyes, his face turned serious. I stopped breathing, then stopped walking. I couldn’t remember how to work my body.
I started falling towards Dean, my vision turning black on the edges. The last thing I saw before everything turned black was the concerned expression that was now on Dean’s face.
✵ ✵ ✵
“Sarah? Are you alright? Can you hear me?” The man’s voice sounded concerned through my ears.
“Here. Put this on her forehead,” said a woman. Something cold was put on my forehead, and it stayed there. I knew I should open my eyes, but I just wanted to rest for a few more seconds. I examined my surroundings the best I could without moving. The thing I was laying on was soft, with a plastic covering over it. It smelt like medicine in here.
I was in the nurses office. “Sarah? Wake up,” said the man’s voice again. I just wanted to lose myself in his voice. A hand touched my arm, sending an electric current through my body. I sprang up in the bed that I was lying in. The cold compress fell off of my forehead and onto my lap.
The hand flew off of my arm, and my arm felt weird without it there. My vision cleared, and I was able to look around. Rachel and Sierra were standing at the foot of the bed with the nurse. I slowly turned my head to the right, and saw Mia standing and looking at me. She looked worried, but she gave me a reassuring smile. I turned my head to the left, and saw Dean staring at me, concern covering his features. He looked like he was trying to find something to do to help me.
One thing suddenly occurred to me. I didn’t know why I was in here. “What happened?” Dean blew out a gust of air, a look of relief taking place of the concern.
“You passed out.” Images of the fuzzy blackness around my vision, and the look Dean had worn before I passed out in his arms came to me. I glanced at the clock. 1 o’clock. The last time I had seen the clock in the cafeteria was at 12:45. That was when we were leaving.
“Shouldn’t you guys be in class?” I stared at each one of my friends, being careful not to look at Dean.
“Mrs. Brice is giving us passes so we won’t be marked tardy. We were staying here to make sure you were okay,” Mia explained.
“I’m fine. Now go to class and learn something new. I’ll be okay,” I assured them. They all had doubtful looks on their faces, but they turned their backs and walked out the door. All but one. Dean. “You, too.”
“No. I’m staying here with you.” He sounded stubborn, as if he had already had this fight.
“I tried to get him to leave, honey. He refused. I just couldn’t get him to leave your side,” The nurse said before turning her back to us. I glared at Dean, but he stayed stubborn.
“Fine. If you aren’t going to leave, than I have a few questions for you.”
“Shoot,” he said.
“For starters, where are you from?” He seemed to think about his answer, and then he broke into a huge grin as if there was some joke.
“Up north.” He was still smiling, but it wasn’t as big of a smile anymore.
“Where at up north?” I asked.
“Nowhere you’ve ever been, trust me.” The stubborn look was back on his face, so I dropped the subject.
“When did you move here?”
“One year ago tomorrow,” he said. His answer surprised me. He’s been here for a year? And he’s just starting school? That just didn’t add up.
“Why did you move?”
“Because of you,” he said. And for the second time that day, I passed out.
✵ ✵ ✵
“Mrs. Brice? She passed out again,” I heard Dean say. I slowly opened my eyes, almost afraid to look at Dean. But the very first thing I saw were his black eyes staring into mine. “You have to stop doing that, Sarah. You’re scaring me.”
“Don’t be afraid for me. You don’t even know me.” I slid to the farthest edge of the bed to get away from him. But he just laid down next to me, making escape impossible.
“Then tell me about yourself. Anything. Everything. I want to know it all.” I looked at him, not taking him seriously. His expression told me that he wasn’t kidding.
“I hate being cold, and right now I’m freezing,” He moved closer to me, and put his arm around my shoulders. “My favorite color is green, I’ve always wanted to go to Greece, I love the sound of pianos, I love sad movies, and I secretly want to be a science teacher.”
“I know there is more to you then just that,” he said when I stopped.
“There is. But you have to tell me about you before I finish.” I was going to be stubborn about this. I won’t take no for an answer. He sighed deeply, and then began to speak.
“I’m good at beating people up, I have a bad temper, I usually push people away, my favorite color is black, I don’t have many plans for the future, and I love the sound of your voice.” He said the last part as if it was no big deal. He was still staring into my eyes, and I was still unable to think. “Now keep going.”
“I have a family that loves and accepts me for who I am,” I cringed on the inside at this lie. My family only loves me because I pretend to be perfect for them. “I like curling under a blanket with a good book every once in a while, my favorite movie is City of Angels, and I’m terrified of spiders.”
We continued to tell each other about ourselves, and I continued to lie about my home life. At one point, Dean picked up my hand and intertwined his fingers with mine. It made me nervous, but I couldn’t bring myself to pull away.
When the bell rung for us to go to our next class, the nurse came in to check up on me. “How are you feeling, Sarah?” I looked at Dean.
“Better,” I said, a huge smile on my face.
“Good. Then you can go to class now.” I thanked her, and Dean asked her a few times if she was sure that I could leave. She assured him each time, and he eventually accepted it. He joined me as I walked to my next class.
“Where is your next class?” he asked me. I looked at my schedule to make sure I was right.
“The cafeteria for study hall. How about you?”
“Cafeteria for study hall.” We walked together on the way there. When we got there, he went to introduce himself to the teacher, and I went to go sit in my seat. A few minutes of them talking, and I saw Dean grin. He walked over to me and said, “Long time no see.” He sat in the seat next to me, his grin getting bigger. “She told me I could sit anywhere I wanted. I wasn’t done talking to you. And I have to be here to catch you if you pass out again.”
“I will not pass out again!” He looked into my eyes, making me lose my train of thought again. “Stop looking at me! I’m getting light-headed.”
“That’s what I thought,” he said.